Well, here it is.
I have too many words to say about my time here in Argentina. From eye-opening and inspiring to unbelievable and unforgettable, I have never had a more phenomenal experience in my life. It is impossible to put everything into words, but I know that I can at least try.
Thinking back to July 19th when I first arrived at my home here in Argentina, I had two immediate thoughts. The first was, "what did I get myself into?" and the second was "this is going to be the most insane thing that I have ever done." Think about it, studying abroad is one thing, but choosing to emerse yourself in a culture drastically different from your own, live with people who you have never met, and somehow use your previously butchered language skills just to get by. Seems like an adventure to me.
Adventure found me too many times throughout my experiences in South America. Just to summarize the major adventures that I had, here goes nothin': I stood and overlooked my favorite city in the world from Palacio Barolo here in BA, spent my 21st Birthday at Kika and saw fireworks over San Telmo, rode a horse at a typical Argentine estancia, learned to dance the Tango in it's birthplace, explored the Andes Mountains, went to the highest peak in the Americas (Aconcagua), became a wine connoseuir at the vineyards in Mendoza, volunteered in a poor neighborhood of the Province of Buenos Aires, saw the most beautiful church in all of South America, stood at La Triple Frontera between Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil, explored one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (Iguazú Falls), got drenched on a boat under some of Iguazú's Falls, zip lined, rappelled, and went quadding through the subtropical forests of Puerto Iguazú, spent the day at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, climbed to the top of Christo Redentor, paddle boarded at Copacabana Beach, witnessed the most amazing view from Pão de Açúcar in Rio, WENT SKYDIVING IN ARGENTINA, backpacked through the Pacific Coast of Chile, climbed The Dunes of Concón, traveled to the southernmost city in the world, saw penguins in their natural habitat in Ushuaia, stood at the end of the Americas and was at the closest point to Antartica, trekked through Tierra del Fuego National Park, survived a River Plate Game, stood atop the Monumento de los Dedos in Uruguay, taught English to kids at the Secondary School, had dinner at the fanciest restaurant of Buenos Aires, and of course met the most amazing people ever all along the way.
Although it may be sad to leave a place that is now a major part of my life, how can I be upset after all of those adventures? With each passport stamp, my personality and perspective of the world changed. I've come to realize that the majority of people are inherently good, and have been taught to be so by their own culture. I've also become the most open-minded and patient version of myself, which is something that I have grown to love. I never used to think that I could live in a place where they do not go by the "New York Minute", in that, everything is fast paced and directly at your service. Today, I can say otherwise. I liked to think of myself as leient and easy-going, but now that is very much more true.
Culture shock may be classified as a real feeling upon arriving in a new country, but I see reverse culture shock as something more significant. Readjusting back into the every day lifestyle of America will be interesting for me, because I have lived so different from that for so long. Explaining my adventures will be the best way to medicate myself from the end to my adventures abroad, but I am always eager to tell the world my stories. Although not everyone will understand the struggles and triumphs that I went through during some instances, I can try to at least regurgitate the information to them.
And by no means does this diminish the excitement that I have to see my family, friends from home, and dog. They are all some of the most important people (or animals) in my life and I would not be here today without them. I'm excited to share my stories with them, and explain all of the tiny details about things that I have learned.
Tonight I had my last dinner with my host family. I said chau to Paola and Martin, two of the greatest influences on my experiences in Argentina. It wasn't easy, but not everything is. And tomorrow, I am finishing up the last of my packing (Argentina certainly did not help my procrastination skills) and heading to lunch with my friends at Tea Connection, the same restaurant that we went to on our first day of the program. And at about 3:30pm, I'm getting picked up and heading to the airport for my first flight homeward bound. I fly from Buenos Aires to Santiago, Chile, then again to JFK Airport in New York City. The thought of being back in the US is still weird to me, so we will see how it goes. I guess I can say that this is my last blog post while in South America, with another one coming after a few days in the United States. 6 hours until my departure from my home in BsAs, and 24 hours until my arrival in NYC.
When all is said and done, I can say that I have over 22,000 miles of travel under my belt, as well as 5 more countries, and the greatest 4 months of my life. Buenos Aires, te quiero y no puedo esperar a volver áca en 2016. This city has given me so much more than just a fun time, it's given me collection of the best memories that I may ever have. So thank you for that, BsAs and Argentina, because I would not be the same without you. That's that, so I'll travel safe on the way back and see everyone soon. Chau!
P.S.: I am not opposed to the idea of missing my flights back.. Hmmm 😇
"If you do not leave, then you will not miss it and get the chance to come back." — Paola Recalde